CLEVELAND, OH - They are the guys baseball fans and sometimes even players love to hate but inside the Cleveland Clinic Wednesday Major League Baseball Umpires received only smiles.
""We don't get to see people smiling at us very often in our jobs," joked MLB Umpire Jeff Nelson. "People are usually mad at us."
The heavy hitters of the UMPS CARE Charities went to bat for children navigating curveballs. Umpires of the current Indians and Minnesota Twins series spent hours playing with children and handing out 100 of the stuffed bears to critically ill patients.
"Just to be able to bring a smile to a child's face means the world to me and this crew," said Cory Blaser a MLB Umpire. "Going side by side and letting them pick it's special."
Children too ill to leave their hospital room got special deliveries of the bears, something Wisconsin mother Shannon Walczak says her daughter appreciated.
"Just to see her smiling because she's pretty bored sitting here," she said. "Can't move around with the thing on there, waiting for a seizure to happen to see for testing so she really enjoyed having something to take her mind off of everything else."
Founded in 2006, an UMPS CARE Charities spokesperson says their mission is to enrich the lives of children facing challenges, whether it's serious illness, providing financial support to older adopted children, military families or at risk youth. For Lydia Davis the simple act of compassion the umpires showed her son brought her to tears.
"It means a lot, he goes through a lot," said Davis as her voice broke. "It's really hard, anything to get him out of his room."
Umpires say giving children a reason to smile is their goal when they visit league cities across the country.
"That just," MLB Umpire Laz Diaz didn't finish his sentence instead he pounded his chest trying to gain composure. "Put a smile on her face, just unbelievable."
For these umpires doing good is an easy call. For more information on the charity click here.